(File)

B.C. First Nation ordered to pay $30,000 for ex-chief’s ‘vulgar’ remark

Former Nee Tahi Buhn councillor had filed complaint

The Nee Tahi Buhn First Nation in the Burns Lake area must pay a former band councillor $30,000 after its one-time long-standing chief councillor described her as a “white bastard” in several emails.

The award to Hayley Nielsen was ordered by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal following a complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission regarding the conduct of Raymond Morris.

After two days of hearings in November, the tribunal found that Nielsen, whose mother is a member of the First Nation and whose father is Caucasian, was discriminated against because of her racial origin.

Morris used the term “white bastard” in two 2016 emails, with one stating “I resign f—-en white bastards run it.”

Nielsen was elected in 2014, the same time Morris was re-elected as chief. He was defeated in 2018.

Her position of not practising a religion appears to have been the start of a deteriorating relationship with Morris, said a tribunal ruling recently posted online.

At a band assembly in 2016, Morris “loudly proclaimed that since Ms. Nielsen does not practise religion, she should not serve as councillor,” the ruling said.

Nielsen remained in her post, but resigned in 2017 citing a developing toxic environment.

Another councillor, Charity Morris, also resigned because of Morris’ harassment, according to the document, as did Nielsen’s son, deputy chief Cody Reid.

READ MORE: Indigenous mother wins $20,000 discrimination case against Vancouver police

A representative from The Nee Tahi Buhn First Nation attended some of the hearings, but the nation did not enter any evidence nor offer a defence.

“Ms. Nielsen felt directly targeted by these vulgar words, which refer directly to her Caucasian origins,” the tribunal wrote in a decision recently posted online.

“Similarly, Mr. Raymond Morris’s vulgar comments, specifically the terms ‘white bastard,’ are outrageous.”

The $30,000 award was divided into two parts — $5,000 for pain and suffering and $25,000 in lost wages from the time of her resignation in 2017 to the election date the following year. She was also awarded interest of $500.

Nielsen had also asked for a letter of apology to be published on the First Nation’s Facebook page and in the Lakes District News, but the tribunal ruled that was not within its authority to order.

It did, however, order the nation to develop human rights and anti-harassment policies in consultation with the Canadian Human Rights Commission and hire an expert to train employees and councillors.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Frustration grows in Ucluelet as locked gate puts school garden in peril

“You walk by there and it’s just dead. Everything’s dry and yelling for water,” Liisa Nielsen said.

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

Ucluelet fire crew extinguishes residential blaze

Ucluelet’s fire chief is praising his crew for making short work of a residential blaze on Tuesday.

DFO reports unusually high whale mortalities in 2020

“It’s so important to have all these eyes and ears in the community reporting these deaths.”

Tofino housing project criticized at public hearing

Town’s council hosts first public hearing since start of COVID-19 pandemic.

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

B.C. paramedics responded to a record-breaking 2,700 overdose calls in July

Province pledges $10.5 million for expansion of overdose prevention response

Canada signs deals with Pfizer, Moderna to get doses of COVID-19 vaccines

Earlier in July both Pfizer and Moderna reported positive results from smaller trials

Canucks tame Minnesota Wild 4-3 to even NHL qualifying series

J.T. Miller leads Vancouver with goal and an assist

Cyclist in hospital after being hit by load of lumber hanging from truck on B.C. highway

A man is in hospital with broken ribs, punctured lung and a broken clavicle and scapula

COVID-19 vaccine efforts provide hope but no silver bullet to stop pandemic: Tam

There are more than two dozen vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials around the world

Two people die in propane heated outdoor shower near Princeton

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

Racism in B.C. healthcare: Deadline for First Nations survey coming up on Aug. 6

Survey comes after hospital staff allegedly played a blood alcohol guessing game

Most Read